These easy chocolate coconut cupcakes are super soft and tender, with a rich chocolate flavour, topped with a smooth and creamy dairy-free chocolate and coconut buttercream frosting.
Chocolate and coconut are two flavours that pair perfectly together and these cupcakes are a pure celebration of both. The chocolate is rich and the coconut is subtle and not overpowering. They are the perfect sweet treat for any occasion.
Many recipes for chocolate and coconut cupcakes simply combine a chocolate cupcake with a coconut buttercream frosting, but for these we’re combining both flavours together in each thanks to both coconut oil and canned coconut milk.
The result is a light and soft cupcake that is rich without an overpowering taste of coconut, and the frosting, well it might just be one of my all time favourite chocolate buttercreams. It’s rich and fudgy, and super smooth and creamy – once you give it a taste you’ll understand why I’ve pilled it high here!
These cupcakes are also dairy free making them perfect for those who usually can’t indulge in a rich, chocolate cupcake due to the dairy. This recipe (like most cupcake recipes) is super easy making them a great option for beginner bakers.
So do yourself and those around you a favour and whip up a batch of these chocolate and coconut cupcakes. You won’t be disappointed, but you do need to be prepared to be asked to make them again and again.
This simple cupcake recipe comes together easily using a few key ingredients, most of which you may already have on hand.
- Cocoa powder – always use a good quality cocoa powder for the best flavour.
- Plain flour – also known as all purpose flour in the US.
- Bicarbonate of soda and baking powder – we’re using a combination of both in this recipe as they play a different role in ensuring the cupcakes rise correctly and we get a light and fluffy cupcake.
- Eggs – giving the cakes structure and also lift to keep them light and soft.
- Vanilla extract – always add vanilla to chocolate cakes as it will enhance the richness of the chocolate flavour.
- White and brown sugar – provides sweetness and the brown sugar helps enhance the richness of the chocolate.
- Coconut oil – keeps the cupcake moist and tender and adds a little extra coconut flavour. You can use any light tasting oil as a substitute but your cupcakes will have less coconut flavour.
- Coconut milk – always use a good quality canned coconut milk. My favourite brand is TCC which I find at Woolworths.
- White vinegar – helps keep the cupcakes super soft and reacts with the bicarbonate of soda to help give the cakes lift.
To make these dairy-free chocolate and coconut cupcakes, you’ll need a 12 cup muffin pan lined with patty cases, some mixing bowls and a whisk.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and coconut oil. Make sure they are well combined. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, and salt. And finally, add the white vinegar to the coconut milk.
Add half of the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients, along with half of the coconut milk mixture. Give it a good stir with the whisk until everything is just combined. Then, add the remaining dry ingredients and coconut milk, stirring gently until the mixture just comes together. Remember, don’t overmix it!
Fill the cupcake liners halfway with the batter and pop them into a preheated oven and let them bake for around 18 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Once they’re done, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting and decorating.
This chocolate and coconut buttercream is based on my popular vegan chocolate buttercream recipe and follows the same steps.
In a large mixing bowl, the some dairy-free butter and vanilla and beat using a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer. Slowly add the cocoa powder and icing sugar to the butter, beating well between each addition. Once you’ve added about half of the icing sugar, add in the coconut milk one tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat the mixture. If the mixture appears too wet after adding one tablespoon of coconut milk, make sure to beat in more icing sugar before adding the remaining coconut milk.
Add the remaining icing sugar and a pinch of salt to taste. If the mixture seems a bit too soft for piping, don’t worry! Just add more icing sugar, about half a cup at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency.
Add the buttercream to a piping bag with your favourite piping tip and pipe generous swirls of buttercream onto each cupcake. You can decorate the cupcakes with chocolate shavings and a sprinkle of desiccated coconut.
Yes, you can substitute coconut milk with other non-dairy milk alternatives such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk. Just note that the coconut flavour in the cupcakes will be less intense.
Yes, you can use a gluten-free flour blend as a substitute for regular flour. Just make sure to choose a blend specifically labelled as gluten-free and follow the instructions on the packaging regarding the substitution ratio.
Yes, you can make the cupcakes in advance. Once they have completely cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. If you need to store them for a longer period, it’s recommended to freeze them.
Absolutely! To freeze the cupcakes, place them in a freezer-safe container or zip-lock bag. They can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw them at room temperature before frosting and serving.
Certainly! If you prefer a plain coconut-flavoured buttercream instead of chocolate, you can omit the cocoa powder from the recipe. Adjust the amount of icing sugar accordingly to maintain the desired consistency.
More Dairy Free Cupcakes:
Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup plain flour
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup coconut oil melted
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ tablespoon white vinegar
For the Chocolate & Coconut Buttercream:
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup dairy-free butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk (see notes)
- 3-4 cups icing sugar
- pinch salt
For the Cupcakes:
- Line a 12-cup muffin pan with patty cases and preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
- Combine white vinegar and coconut milk and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk to combine eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and coconut oil.
- In a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salts. Add half of the dry ingredients into the wet and half of the coconut milk and stir until combined. Add in the remainder of the dry ingredients along with the milk and again stir until mixture just comes together. Be careful not to overmix.
- Fill patty cases ½ full and bake in the pre-heated oven for 18 minutes or when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
For the Chocolate and Coconut Buttercream:
- In a large bowl, add dairy-free butter and vanilla and begin beating with an electric mixer on medium speed.
- In a separate bowl, sift 3 cups icing sugar and cocoa powder. Slowly begin adding icing sugar mixture into the dairy-free butter ¼ cup at a time ensuring it is completely combined before adding more.
- Once about half of the icing sugar has been added, beat in coconut milk slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. Do this very slowly as it may split the butter. If the mixture looks too wet after one tablespoon, make sure to beat in more icing sugar before adding the remaining coconut cream.
- Beat in remaining icing sugar and add salt to taste. If the mixture is a little soft for piping, add more icing sugar ½ cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Using your favourite piping tip, pipe icing onto cupcakes.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.